A natural horse is the understanding that unless we turn out our modern horse into a large acre area other than the Polar Circles with shade, dietary food and water most of what we do to a horse is unnatural. Our confined horse has innate behaviors and instincts to help them survive. Having the horse perform on cue much less riding them is not natural. Natural Horsemanship helps us understanding their wild nature associating many natural, physical and mental moves along with behaviors; thus, we ask them to assimilate similar moves and actions while also learning new ones. Kicking, biting, rearing, fighting, running away, is natural and unwanted behavior that we humans need to use knowledge to change. We use three guides to horse training: 1) we can not get hurt 2) the horse can not get hurt 3) and the horse must be calmer that when we started the lesson.
Our goal is for the horse to allow us into their world and have a mutual respect from the horse in order to groom, manipulative, ride, lead, trailer and feed without incident. Teaching adults and most importantly kids to have this same understanding is very important. Relating to these responsive animals is fulfilling, but being aware that the horse uses its instincts all the time is necessary. The positive attributes people obtain while being around horses are countless, but understand and being aware that horses are and can be a great partner in life is an addition to our happiness.
Helping adults and kids in becoming leaders in their horse’s mind is done with age appropriate, supervised sequential exercises and activities. Placing skills for participant’s proper mind-set, patience, open-mindedness and the appreciation for good behavior while implementation of techniques to stop bad behavior, is a learning process. Your horse also has a learning process, which needs to be followed in order to gain any progress. Horses similar to people if rushed become frustrated while directions applied too slowly they become bored and forgetful.
The applying and releasing of pressure whether it be for positive or negative reinforcement (if needed- biting) is an acquired skill that only improves with time and exposure while listening to your horse. Teaching the horse-cued skills is also done with sequential steps and methods to stimulate but not frighten. Consistency with patience and constant understanding builds the horse’s confidence in moving from memorization to the learned and applied stage. If done properly the horse looks at you as a leader while its confidence in you becomes higher; thus , its training time may be easier. Relentless patience and sequential teaching on behalf of the horse, rider and instructor is the key to improved success.
Sportsmanship, honesty, muti-tasking with speed of thought and action, done with safety was and is always implemented during horse training and coaching students. An adept and engaging teacher and trainer learns to understanding the skill and behaviors of the horse and student while correlating accordingly. For us humans, learning can be fun, but a goal worth obtaining is more fulfilling if it’s a challenge to acquire.